It was a tough day at my son’s volleyball tournament. Something was off. The team wasn’t gelling. You couldn’t point to one player or one problem, but they were not “in the zone” and we all knew it. During the last game, something clicked. Suddenly everything was working, the players were quick, effective, and enjoying the game. Even though they made mistakes, they bounced back quickly and kept having fun. No one could point to what change occurred but we all saw it and felt it.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (a fun name to pronounce once you know how: “Chick-sent-me-high”) has spent his lifetime studying and writing about this positive state athletes call “in the zone” but scientists call“flow”. During flow, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, meaning and a total involvement with life. You forget yourself but feel connected to something larger. We’ve all felt it and we certainly sense it when our favorite sports teams are in flow. Kids are in this state all the time: building a lego tower, playing school, having a dart gun war. When we are in this state we are operating at our highest human potential. We see possibilities where none existed, achieve amazing physical feats, are using more parts of the brain AND are flooded with feel-good hormones that make negative emotion and physical discomfort disappear. Flow is why Olympic Gymnasts don’t even notice their injuries until after their performance ends and how Joe, on Survivor, wins every single challenge! This flow state is on a spectrum, so it can feel amazingly powerful, or just energizing and clear. I feel it after every yoga class and nature hike. I have felt it strongly on stage, while gambling, drawing, even last week writing my poem on party anxiety.
Where have you felt yourself in the state of flow?
What if you could get your whole life in flow so every day you feel deep enjoyment and connection? That’s what the Extraordinary Life Telesummit is about so if you haven’t signed up, do it now by clicking here!
Most of us stumbled into flow, but studying how we got into it, can help us create more of it. Here’s some signs you will recognize when your life is in the state of flow:
Completely involved in what we are doing – focused & concentrated.
A sense of being outside everyday reality, time seems to warp faster or slower.
Great inner clarity – knowing what needs to be done and how well we are doing.
Knowing the activity is doable, our skills are up to the task.
A sense of serenity – no worries and a feeling of growing beyond the boundaries of the ego.
Timelessness – thoroughly focused on the present, hours seem to pass by in minutes.
Intrinsic Motivation – whatever seems to be it’s own motivation.
Moms have three common obstacles that keep us from being in this high potential, feel-good state (and no, they aren’t your husband and two kids!)
- You sacrifice your flow for the kid’s flow. You spend your time facilitating activities for the kids to be in flow (playing trains, building forts, dance class) instead of pursuing your own. Over time, you forget how to get yourself back into it.
2. You live in a distraction rich environment – flow requires long periods of intense focus. Which is why getting away is so necessary and valuable for Moms.
3. You are in a familiar environment – flow is triggered in a rich environment with lots of novelty, complexity and unpredictability (natural environments and video games work) but kids do best with structure! Everything is novel to kids but adults have to work harder to find new environments.
Imagine what it would be like get your whole life in flow: To feel effortless ease, clarity, and peace as you move throughout your day. Your intuition is there to guide you all the time. One of the reasons life coaching is so quick and effective is that you get reintroduced to your own intuition so you can use it to guide you through any life decision. Do these three things to connect to your intuition and get you back in a state of flow:
- Make a list of all the times in your life when you have felt this flow state. It could be a rock concert, a creative endeavor, or just a swim in the ocean.
- Take this quiz to see what your flow profile is.
- Take Justin Faerman’s advice from the telesummit, ask yourself, “What’s the one thing you’ve been yearning to do, that you haven’t allowed yourself to do?” Go do that.
image courtesy of Ponsuwan at www.freedigitalphotos.net